Born and raised in Saskatchewan, I've been a supporter of the CCF/NDP since before Thomas Mulcair was born. The major reason is simply that Canada's social democratic party has always been the voice of the vulnerable and the oppressed. And that is also the major reason I am uncomfortable with its current leader, specifically with his failure to speak out strongly about the atrocities being inflicted on the people of Gaza. His statement on the issue was nothing more than a mealy-mouthed piece of political pap.
Where is the outrage? The suffering of the Gazans ought to inspire any self-respecting social democrat to righteous wrath. Yet Mulcair lays the blame for the slaughter almost entirely on Hamas while tiresomely repeating the refrain that Israel has a right to defend itself, ignoring the fact that violence from Gaza is entirely the result of Israel's imprisonment of its people, including the million refugees denied their moral and legal right to return to their homes solely because of their race. Oppressors lose any right to punish their victims for retaliation by the very act of oppression itself. However, perhaps Mulcair's pusillanimous reaction is not surprising—he has said in the past he is "an ardent supporter of Israel in all situations and in all circumstances," a position disturbingly similar to Stephen Harper's.
None of the leaders of our major political parties has the courage to speak in defence of one of the most long-suffering people on earth. All three cower from the political correctness that smothers discussion of Israel in this country. Harper's motive may be the purest. He has a keen eye for political advantage, but his black and white view of the world blinds him from finding fault in a nation he considers a friend. Trudeau's position is just ... well, your guess is as good as mine. But Mulcair betraying his party's proudest tradition is simply unforgivable.
No doubt some NDP MPs are as frustrated about this as I am. But party "discipline" under Mulcair allows only the leader and the party critic to speak publicly on the issue, another aspect of his leadership that troubles me. Fortunately I am a mere member of the party, so I am free to criticize both Israel's behaviour and the party's response to it. Some wit has suggested that the N in NDP now stands for Neoliberal. Say it ain't so, Tom, say it ain't so.